A Quote from Bill Dennison on Dutch Neo-Calvinism and the Roots for Transformation -Reformed Forum

Discussion in 'Defending the Faith' started by J. Rodriguez Jr. 1929, Jul 8, 2017.

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  1. J. Rodriguez Jr. 1929

    J. Rodriguez Jr. 1929 Puritan Board Freshman

    --From the most recent Reformed Forum (Christ the Center) Podcast, July 2, 2017 episode entitled “Dutch Neo-Calvinism and the Roots for Transformation”. Bill Dennison talking about Cornelius Platinga’s Engaging God’s World book and more recent similar literature on transformationalism stuff:

    Starting at about Minute 30

    The best presentation and the clearest presentation of that [horizontal focus, here-on-earth transformationalism] is Engaging God’s World by Cornelius Plantinga, in the epilogue, where he points out that everything that we see here on this earth will be what we see in the New Heaven and the New Earth. So [C. Plantinga] points out that the forest in Germany will be there. Flip Island, North Carolina [Scribe's Note: Did he mean Fripp Island, South Carolina?] will be in the New Heaven and New Earth. So I always point out to the students Lookout Mountain will be in the New Heaven and New Earth. Covenant College will be there we just won’t have cracks in the sidewalk anymore. It will be restored. Okay.? So I mean…so that’s the horizontal aspect. Now what comes to play theologically here, in this teleologically horizontal position…what happens is that you have in the literature, I’m starting to more and more see, is a concept in terms of a reunderst…a redefinition of sanctification that sanctification now is pressured, is pressed, on something that we do. Okay.? So justification being something that God does in Christ to us, yes. But, also, sanctification is something we do. And, therefore, sanctification is something in which we work towards concerning the consummation, the horizontal aspect. So the task is essentially to transform, and for the creation order people transform all the spheres to the subordination of the norms of Christ…norms that God has put in place, excuse me, in terms of those spheres so that ushers in the final kingdom, or the shalom people whose obsession is not…they don’t like, for example, they don’t care much for Dooyeweerd and Vollenhoven, and so their principle aspect is shalom basically through the literature of Nicholas Wolterstorff and Cornelius Plantinga, and so they’re looking for the concept of mending a broken creation through peace and justice, so they get…their obsession is a kind of movement towards social justice, and that’s what Christians must work towards, that’s what we must do, and that’s what we must be optimistic about in terms of God working in us, his instruments, to bringing in the kingdom in the final consummation. Personally, I think it is absolutely absurd. I become…I have become, if I can give a side on this…I even now become quite sarcastic to my students in the classroom who some of them picked up on this idea, and I say to them: “Let me just see you transform your dorm floor…let me see you do that…before you even think about the world.” [Another hosts/guests: “Every square inch of it.”] Yeah. Yeah… “You can’t even do that.” I says, “And some of you can’t even transform your roomates, you leave your roomates, so how are you going to have this unity aspect.” The other thing I’ve become quite sarcastic about in many ways, then if this is the view of transformation of culture, then let’s start taking…let’s start going in the middle of where ISIS is, let’s go to Iran, let’s see you transform the culture, let’s see you go to Mexico in the middle of the drug wars…Lords and let’s see you do it. I want to see…you can’t even do it in the city you are in. Most of our colleges, Christian colleges, have moved out of inner city and moved to the suburbs. WHY?? You know, you know…So let me put a…let me put a really strong statement right now. I believe that this notion of the transformation of culture is the biggest mythology in Christian education and in the Christian world right now being portrayed. It’s nothing but a works righteousness version of sanctification and the idea of the social gospel. That’s all it is. [Another host/guest: “Wow.”] I guess that says it [loud laughter]. [Another host/guest: “And that’s all folks…talk to you next time.”]
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2017
  2. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    Covenant College is overwhelmingly a neo-Calvinist institution and this sort of transformationalism dominants. Dennison is one of the main voices against it on campus.
     
  3. J. Rodriguez Jr. 1929

    J. Rodriguez Jr. 1929 Puritan Board Freshman

    Interesting to hear. Didn't know that was the case. I'm not a 2K guy so far. I guess I would fall closer to transformationalism. I was sort of surprised at how strongly Dennison stated his views. I'm trying to understand better the views on Christ and Culture. The 2K view has sort of rubbed me the wrong way so far. Thanks for the insider info Jake.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  4. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    ***and so they’re looking for the concept of mending a broken creation through peace and justice***

    And that should happen. The danger is that these types don't define it the way God has--not simply his Word, but even the Old testament parts of it.
     
  5. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    The whole quote boils down to this: "Oh, so you haven't been successful in transforming x, well, I guess the whole project is a failure."

    Now go apply that same logic to your personal sanctification. There are bad aspects of Kuyperianism. That is why we need to read Kuyper through the lens of Klaas Schilder.
     
  6. J. Rodriguez Jr. 1929

    J. Rodriguez Jr. 1929 Puritan Board Freshman

    Yeah that throwing out the baby with the bath water part was hard to hear. Glad you highlighted that part. And I've heard of Klaas Schilder from Cornel Venema, I think. Someone else though mentioned Schilder and had something bad to say about the guy. But I forget what they said. Here is a paper the RCUS's Western Classis wrote up last year about 2K Theology. I know some of the guys and I tend to be sympathetic with them at least some though I've only read like a third of the paper so far: http://www.rehobothchapel.org/RRC/w.../Western-Classis-Two-Kingdoms-Paper-Final.pdf


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  7. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Schilder rejected (or extremely reworked) Kuyper's common grace. And he also had a head-for-head view of the covenant. I don't have a problem with those two positions, but they usually get people worked up.
     
  8. J. Rodriguez Jr. 1929

    J. Rodriguez Jr. 1929 Puritan Board Freshman

    Glad to learn more on this. This is why I posted the quote. Preciate you guys shooting me ideas ! Keep them coming if you'd like.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  9. J. Rodriguez Jr. 1929

    J. Rodriguez Jr. 1929 Puritan Board Freshman

    For posting on the Puritanboard, are we supposed to have signature blocks with our posts indicating where we go to church? I see that you guys do.
     
  10. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    To answer your question, yes. An administrator or moderator will probably be along shortly to provide instruction on how to set one up. Once you set it up properly, it is automatically added.

    Oh, and Greetings and Welcome to the board to a fellow Texan.
     
  11. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    https://www.puritanboard.com/help/signature/

    Click on your name and chose "signature" and edit.

    BTW, thanks Edward!
     
  12. Andrew P.C.

    Andrew P.C. Puritan Board Junior

    The issue I have is with the idea of transformationalism. It seems that this goes along with Theonomy to some degree.
     
  13. J. Rodriguez Jr. 1929

    J. Rodriguez Jr. 1929 Puritan Board Freshman

    Yeah it seems hard to disentangle and make two separate things by the little I know.



    Jay
    Member, OPC
    Texas
     
  14. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Almost all Kuyperians are anti-theonomy.
     
  15. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Another point to remember that perhaps changes the whole "transformationalist" calculus. Kuyper didn't believe in a Christian culture. Culture was the realm of common grace. He just wanted it to be influenced by Christianity. I don't agree with Kuyper here but this point is always overlooked.
     
  16. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Jacob, I wonder if the critique might not reflect something a bit deeper than that. It seems to me that part of what plays in here is the reception accorded to the spirit of apocalypticism. Do we bring in the kingdom, or does the kingdom come about by immediate divine intervention? No matter what your answer, there are qualifications that need to be made and nuances to be introduced. But it occurs to me that perhaps a fundamental difference here is whether one sees organic development of what has already been given vs. catastrophic introduction of new divine action as the key factor in what the new heavens and new earth will be like.
     
  17. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    I have been in theonomy discussions for fifteen years now. I've never met a theonomist or Kuyperian who said we "bring in the kingdom."
     
  18. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Sure. That phrasing is loaded language, and I'll retract it. My point is that on a spectrum of continuity/discontinuity people take up different positions. Those in the more discontinuous part of the spectrum are always likely to see those in the more continuous part as worldly, self-sufficient, delusional, etc. Those in the more continuous part are always likely to see the others as escapist, passive, cowardly, etc. There ought to be more to a critique than jeering at people's failures.
     
  19. J. Rodriguez Jr. 1929

    J. Rodriguez Jr. 1929 Puritan Board Freshman

    Looking for any insights from y'all on the following conversation from my FB page. The conversation is sort of based on the quote I quoted for this thread. I'm Jaime and I sort of concealed the names of the other participants: Cathie and Joe. Joe is the person who interacts with me the most. I know Joe now for about 3 years. Any help would be pretty cool. thanks !

    Jaime Rodriguez
    July 8 at 10:38am ·
    --From the most recent Reformed Forum (Christ the Center) Podcast, July 2, 2017 episode entitled “Dutch Neo-Calvinism and the Roots for Transformation”. Bill Dennison talking about Cornelius Platinga’s Engaging God’s World book and more recent similar literature on transformationalism stuff:

    Starting at about Minute 30

    The best presentation and the clearest presentation of that [horizontal focus, here-on-earth transformationalism] is Engaging God’s World by Cornelius Plantinga, in the epilogue, where he points out that everything that we see here on this earth will be what we see in the New Heaven and the New Earth. So [C. Plantinga] points out that the forest in Germany will be there. Flip Island, North Carolina [Scribe's Note: Did he mean Fripp Island, South Carolina?] will be in the New Heaven and New Earth. So I always point out to the students Lookout Mountain will be in the New Heaven and New Earth. Covenant College will be there we just won’t have cracks in the sidewalk anymore. It will be restored. Okay.? So I mean…so that’s the horizontal aspect. Now what comes to play theologically here, in this teleologically horizontal position…what happens is that you have in the literature, I’m starting to more and more see, is a concept in terms of a reunderst…a redefinition of sanctification that sanctification now is pressured, is pressed, on something that we do. Okay.? So justification being something that God does in Christ to us, yes. But, also, sanctification is something we do. And, therefore, sanctification is something in which we work towards concerning the consummation, the horizontal aspect. So the task is essentially to transform, and for the creation order people transform all the spheres to the subordination of the norms of Christ…norms that God has put in place, excuse me, in terms of those spheres so that ushers in the final kingdom, or the shalom people whose obsession is not…they don’t like, for example, they don’t care much for Dooyeweerd and Vollenhoven, and so their principle aspect is shalom basically through the literature of Nicholas Wolterstorff and Cornelius Plantinga, and so they’re looking for the concept of mending a broken creation through peace and justice, so they get…their obsession is a kind of movement towards social justice, and that’s what Christians must work towards, that’s what we must do, and that’s what we must be optimistic about in terms of God working in us, his instruments, to bringing in the kingdom in the final consummation. Personally, I think it is absolutely absurd. I become…I have become, if I can give a side on this…I even now become quite sarcastic to my students in the classroom who some of them picked up on this idea, and I say to them: “Let me just see you transform your dorm floor…let me see you do that…before you even think about the world.” [Another hosts/guests: “Every square inch of it.”] Yeah. Yeah… “You can’t even do that.” I says, “And some of you can’t even transform your roomates, you leave your roomates, so how are you going to have this unity aspect.” The other thing I’ve become quite sarcastic about in many ways, then if this is the view of transformation of culture, then let’s start taking…let’s start going in the middle of where ISIS is, let’s go to Iran, let’s see you transform the culture, let’s see you go to Mexico in the middle of the drug wars…Lords and let’s see you do it. I want to see…you can’t even do it in the city you are in. Most of our colleges, Christian colleges, have moved out of inner city and moved to the suburbs. WHY?? You know, you know…So let me put a…let me put a really strong statement right now. I believe that this notion of the transformation of culture is the biggest mythology in Christian education and in the Christian world right now being portrayed. It’s nothing but a works righteousness version of sanctification and the idea of the social gospel. That’s all it is. [Another host/guest: “Wow.”] I guess that says it [loud laughter]. [Another host/guest: “And that’s all folks…talk to you next time.”]


    Cathie: Jaime, good job discerning this false teaching. Many of the Neo-Calvinists are promoting the agenda of the New Apostolic Reformation, which has replaced the preaching of the gospel with a message of transforming culture in order to establish the Kingdom of God on Earth, to bring about the second coming of Christ. The quote from the Podcast sums it up pretty well: " I believe that this notion of the transformation of culture is the biggest mythology in Christian education and in the Christian world right now being portrayed. It’s nothing but a works righteousness version of sanctification and the idea of the social gospel."
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    · July 8 at 10:26pm · EditedRemove

    Jaime: Thanks Cathie for interacting with my post. You're are the only one so far of all my friends across all my social media accounts where posted this quote who has interacted with it. I found the quote interesting and strongly stated esp at the end which you quoted. I think though that I am closer to the following paper than this quote I posted (I've read like a third of this paper and know most of the guys who wrote it from my California days): http://www.rehobothchapel.org/.../Western-Classis-Two...

    The subject seems hard to get at and it has been all the rage it seems to me in many sections of our circles. I pray we come to some highly clarifying positions as a church in general.
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    · July 9 at 12:37pm · EditedEdit

    Cathie: Thanks for the link. I'll check it out when I have time. It looks like a lot of reading. I've heard that the "two kingdom" stuff is bad, and that Michael Horton has gotten off track. I don't want to say much right now, because I don't remember exactly what I heard, so I would have to read your article and see if it jogs my memory. The whole idea that we are here to set up God's Kingdom by transforming the culture is crazy!
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    · Reply · Yesterday at 12:58amRemove

    Jaime: Glad you're gonna check it out Cathie! Thanks !
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    · Yesterday at 1:03am

    Joe: I also agree with this quote - although I am not familiar with the authors quoted. Whenever I used to get motivated to change the culture, my former pastor Jack Peterson told me the only way to transform culture is to spread the gospel. And our work is completely dependent on the work of God's Spirit in the hearts of men. We can pray for that and work for that. Culture is a byproduct. When I pray for our leaders in the country and our neighbors, I pray for their salvation and for wisdom and energy in my activities promulgating the gospel.
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    · Reply · Yesterday at 8:25amRemove


    Jaime: Hello Dr. Joe [​IMG] ! I'm writing the following during a break since this thread is pretty interesting to me. But my quick reply may not make complete sense. Right now I'm still working on my definition of the word gospel. Before I had defined it as the system of truth found in the scriptures. I asked Carl Trueman's podcast show for a definition since they use it a lot when they talk about Christ and Culture. They have not had time to respond yet in the last week or so. In practice if we meet some one and we say believe in the Lord Jesus and he will save you from the wrath of God for your sins, repent and turn to Christ, and the person then says yeah I'm not really religious that way and close their ears, what do we do? We could just walk away or we could continue talking in any interest they may have. They may be interested in church history because they feel the church has made awful and unforgivable and absolutely, forever, discrediting blunders. Should we not pursue that line of discussion with them even though it may not be (depending on your definition) part of the gospel?
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    · Reply · Yesterday at 2:42pm · EditedEdit

    Joe: The gospel is a proclamation of the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man since the fall and man's hopelessness before the holy and just God and God's redemptive solution in the sacrificial death and victorious resurrection of Christ. If a person doesn't want to hear it then you try to build a relationship and use whatever conversation may lead to reinforcing the gospel but it is not gospel itself but preparatory.
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    · Reply · 23 hrsRemove


    Jaime: I don't know that I'm fully satisfied with my reply but since it is better to reply within a day instead of a month here is my next reply [​IMG] ! :

    Thanks Mr. Joe for being kind enough to engage me on this. I tend to agree with your definition of the word gospel. I still think there is a system of truth in the Bible (I don't think it is random or a bunch of disjointed ideas put together by a god who is scatterbrained), and so in this vein I think, also, that what you just covered does not make explicit the image of God in man, for instance, among so many other teachings since what you described as the word gospel only contains a few doctrines while the scriptures contain all truth and no error. Do we make use of the non-gospel teachings/doctrines in Scripture? It sounds odd to say that there are non-gospel teachings in the Bible and this has been some of my dilemma in attempting to give a more complete definition to the word gospel. Many seem to want the gospel plus nothing. This has been a fad or common type of saying for a long time now, no? I keep hearing this sort of idea over and over. The gospel is a word tossed around almost flippantly these days. Anyways, like with the phrase Jesus plus nothing or faith plus nothing, some (maybe unwittingly) say the gospel plus nothing. And I am betting they mean what you said the gospel meant--just a handful of ideas and not the whole of Scripture. This is where I thought you were going with the Jack Peterson advice you mentioned. I thought you were trying to say the gospel (again, as usually defined) plus nothing else. But in the latest reply you have the gospel (as usually defined) + something [preparatory ideas or material] = ?a possible conversion? . It seems that in the preparatory material we are getting to know the person (as you said a relationship or a sharing of ideas) and we are becoming cognizant of how much of the Bible and the church they know. And we either attempt to refute non biblical ideas they hold to or we attempt to communicate biblical ones in the hopes they will believe them. Being intellectually aware of a biblical truth, of course, is not enough, so we hope they will come to accept the biblical doctrines as truth also. So, to continue my earlier example, in the case of someone asking about the crusades, the inquisition, the treatment of the Indians, black slavery, and the role of women, etc. We would use biblical principles and things we can deduce from them to deal with those common objections a person might have, I think. If we only stuck to the handful of principles that you consider the gospel, it will be more difficult than if we used all scriptural principles to answer a person's objections to Christianity or the church. We have to use the non-gospel parts of the Bible, as it were. I think you would agree that using as much Scripture as possible is best since they are all profitable (this doesn't mean the Scriptures will be profitable to everyone; what we share will be used against those who never come to believe and who live unrepentant lives unlike the elect who at some point in their lives do come to believe). Nevertheless, the scriptures have profitable answers for all areas of life (since good works can be done in a myriad of spheres) as is said in the second Tim in the 3rd chapter and we should hope to touch the unbelieving elect with as many doctrines as we have time to pass on:

    14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

    15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

    16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

    17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
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    · Reply · 13 hrs · EditedEdit

    Jaime: To put it more simply, I guess, what would you call the non-gospel parts of the Bible? Are you satisfied with a label such as non-gospel parts? And how useful are those parts to you in evangelism?
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    · Reply · 13 hrs · EditedEdit

    Jaime: I wish I was more clear headed but it doesn't help I guess that it is 3 in the morning and I'm being distracted by a flurry of blurry sensations. [​IMG]:)
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    · Reply · 14 hrsEdit

    Joe: The phrase "non-gospel" parts of the Bible sounds to me like a contradiction in terms. I believe the Bible is in essence a history of God's redemptive plan, so all the book is redemptive and preaches the gospel. When you refer to "non-gospel" parts, what passages do you have in mind? If you are referring to a passage like a description of one of the kings of the northern kingdom of Israel, I believe the gospel is present there too, as a description of the character of God and the sinfulness of man.
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    · 7 hrs


    Jaime: I'm starting to feel confused lol [​IMG]:). I'm on my lunch break and feel like I have to read the original post and all the replies all over to get a better grasp on how to reply next, if a reply is necessary. Could be though that maybe I'm too interested in my lunch food right now to focus enough on our thread! Thanks for your persistence to have things clear or correct, Mr. Joe. I appreciate this. And I'll get back to you soon, I think, sir.
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    · Reply · 6 hrs · Edited
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2017
  20. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    She confused Neo-Calvinism with the New Calvinism of Piper. That statement is completely false.

    That's Christian Reconstructionism 101, which I am not sure he is intending. The rub, however, is what does this mean in my vocation?
     
  21. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    What's interesting about the language of catastrophism and immediacy is that Kuyper and Schilder held to both. Schilder believed in a catastrophic end (see section 19 of Christ and Culture). Kuyper believed in the Holy Spirit's immediate work apart from means like the Word.
     
  22. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    That is interesting!
     
  23. J. Rodriguez Jr. 1929

    J. Rodriguez Jr. 1929 Puritan Board Freshman

    Haven't forgotten you, sir. Will get back to ya. Thanks hermano.


    Jay
    Member, OPC
    Texas
     
  24. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Is that in the area of common grace and did Kuyper believe God saves apart from the preaching of His Word? I ask because from the podcast I loved how this was asked...."What does a redeemed Picasso look like?" That question drove home the point of in my thinking how redeeming the culture is so unbiblical. We do not redeem anything but show forth the fruit of being redeemed.
     
  25. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    I don't think it is directly related to common grace, but yes, Kuyper presumed an infant is regenerate. That was the justification for infant baptism. He was led to that position by the laxity in the official church. Kuyperian pastors would say things at baptism like, "I hope this is a real baptism." A friend of mine who pastored churches in the Dutch Reformed/Kuyperian tradition told me,

    In Kuyper's view, baptism is genuine only if the person being baptized is elect. He said that as there is sometimes false labor that results in no baby being born, so there's sometimes "schijndoop" (merely apparent baptism) that isn't really a baptism at all.
     
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